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Temperature and Mental Health: Evidence from Helpline Calls

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  • Benedikt Janzen

Abstract

This paper studies the short-term effects of ambient temperature on mental health using data on nearly half a million helpline calls in Germany. Leveraging location-based routing of helpline calls and random day-to-day weather fluctuations, I find a negative effect of temperature extremes on mental health as revealed by an increase in the demand for telephone counseling services. On days with an average temperature above 25{\deg}C (77{\deg}F) and below 0{\deg}C (32{\deg}F), call volume is 3.4 and 5.1 percent higher, respectively, than on mid-temperature days. Mechanism analysis reveals pronounced adverse effects of cold temperatures on social and psychological well-being and of hot temperatures on psychological well-being and violence. More broadly, the findings of this work contribute to our understanding of how changing climatic conditions will affect population mental health and associated social costs in the near future.

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  • Benedikt Janzen, 2022. "Temperature and Mental Health: Evidence from Helpline Calls," Papers 2207.04992, arXiv.org, revised Nov 2022.
  • Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:2207.04992
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